Guesting on Coode Street

As many of you will doubtless know, Gary and Jonathan have been doing a daily series of short interviews throughout the pandemic, each one featuring someone from the SF&F community. Recently it was my turn and, as has become traditional, I spent a good deal more than my alloted 10 minutes chatting. That’s not hard with Gary, of course. We’ve known each other for years and obviously have a lot of similar interests.

What the interview did prove is that my advaned age is leading to me do that thing where I confuse people’s names. So profuse apologies to David Barnett; Paul Barnett is someone entirely different.

Anyway, I wittered on about a bunch of things including flooding, the importance of trying to pronounce people’s names correctly, doing sensitivity reading and, of course, the wonderful Juliet E McKenna. You can find the podcast here.

The Green Man’s Silence on B&N

I’m delighted to report that The Green Man’s Silence is now available for pre-order on Barnes & Noble. Here’s the full list of options.

At the party at Worldcon I was asked if the book would be available for pre-order from the Wizard’s Tower store. The answer is no. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly the additionl e-commerce software needed to do pre-orders is quite expensive, and we are unlikely to do enough business to justify buying it. Secondly sales through the Wizard’s Tower store do not register in publishing industry sales reports. Pre-orders are apparently really important to the bean counters at big publishers who decide which authors they will allow editors to buy from. So to keep Juliet’s name in front of people who can sell far more books for her than I can I want all of the Green Man pre-orders to go through major stores.

Talking of selling large numbers of books, Amazon has decided to put The Green Man’s Foe on sale in the UK for the whole of August. So if you haven’t read book #2 in the series yet, you can pick it up early and get it read before the new one drops.

And given that all this is going on, we have put The Green Man’s Heir on sale in the UK at £1.77 (which is the new £1.99 since VAT on ebooks was zero-rated), just in case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t have a copy.

Green Man News

I’m delighted to report that The Green Man’s Silence is now available for pre-order on Amazon and Kobo. Barnes & Noble should follow suit very soon. Here are some links:

But that’s not all. Amazon has decided to put The Green Man’s Foe on sale in the UK for the whole of August. So if you haven’t read book #2 in the series yet, you can pick it up early and get it read before the new one drops.

And given that all this is going on, we have put The Green Man’s Heir on sale in the UK at £1.77 (which is the new £1.99 since VAT on ebooks was zero-rated), just in case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t have a copy.

New Salon Futura

Here we go again. The new issue of Salon Futura went live on Wednesday night. Here’s what I have on review:

  • The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M John Harrison
  • Mordew by Alex Pheby
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by from Nghi Vo
  • Scarlet Odyssey by CT Rwizi
  • Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette de Bodard
  • Exhalation by Ted Chiang
  • Season one of Doom Patrol

I have also written a length article about how WSFS might change to become more responsive to fans, and to help fans feel more part of the organisation. It seems to have been well-received thus far, but writing means nothing if it isn’t followed up by action.

The Green Man’s Silence Cover

For those of you who were not at Worldcon (and missed a great party), here is the cover for The Green Man’s Silence. Juliet read briefly from the book at the party, but it is still in edit so it won’t be out immediately. I’ll be opening pre-orders shortly, but it won’t be out until September.

In the meantime, enjoy Ben Baldwin’s beautiful artwork.

The Dan & Cheryl Show

Today I did my thing with Dan Vo for the Queer Britain Lockdown Hunt. It was a lot of fun. I covered a range of queer history books ranging from the 20th Century back to the 2nd. I also mentioned four science fiction and fantasy books. They were:

  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
  • Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
  • Friday by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Triton by Samuel R Delany

Obviously there’s a huge amount of queer SF&F that I could have mentioned, and I tweeted about several others, but those four had interesting stories. To find out why I chose them, you’ll need to watch the show.

On #QBLockdownHunt Tomorrow

Those of you who have been following the Queer Britain Lockdown Hunt on Twitter will know that each Friday Dan Vo has been getting people to search out particular items of significance in queer history. We’ve done badges, we’ve done postcards, we’ve done t-shirts and fliers. But tomorrow the object will be books.

As you can imagine, that’s right up my street. Dan has kindly invited me to join him at 3:00pm to chat about books. I’ll be showcasing some science fiction novels of significance, and also some books from much further back in time that are important to queer history.

Dan also has several other guests through the day, including the fabulous Diana Souhami who has written several books on the lives of famous lesbians. The full details are in the tweet below.

New Book on Angela Carter

It is a big week for local history on Bristol. A new series of David Olusoga’s popular A House Through Time starts tonight, and this time he’s come home to look at a house built by a wealthy slave trader.

In addition to that the lovely people at the Bristol Radical History Group have published a new book. Mostly I wouldn’t bother telling you about such things, but this one should be of interest. Angela Carter’s ‘Provincial Bohemia’ is an examination of the radical counterculture communities that flourished in Bristol and Bath when Carter lived in the region between 1961 and 1976. Author Stephen E Hunt hopes that the book will shed light on Carter’s influences during these formative years. The book even has a rave recommendation from Eugene Byrne. You can buy it direct from the lovely people at Tangent Books.

New Lockdown Reading – Steampunk! Kaiju!


Oh, wait, it is Thursday! I’m supposed to give you a free story. Well, here we go. This one is mine. It has trains, it has a kaiju. I really enjoyed writing it. I hope you like it to. Here’s the blurb:

The British Empire is being blackmailed by mad scientists. Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston needs a new and efficient means of defending the country, and he turns to the great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, for help. Which is how a survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade and a young Welsh artilleryman end up crewing Britain’s latest and most terrifying piece of military hardware: a train.

It is from Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II, which I would love y’all to buy.

New #LockdownReading – Distant Thunder


Yes, it does appear to be Thursday again, so there’s a new short story available for free at Wizard’s Tower. Distant Thunder is the second in Juliet McKenna’s Quartering the Compass which looks at the adventures of one of the minor characters from the Aldabreshin Compass books.

You can find the full list of Lockdown Reading stories here. Please also consider buying a copy of Colinthology as all proceeds from sale of the book go to help Bristol hospitals.

Coronavirus – Day #54

This is beginning to feel entirely like normal. I attended a meeting (albeit by Zoom) for a couple of hours in the morning. I listened to my radio show. I did some Day Job work. And I attended a feminist book club in the evening (I have persuaded them to read The Calculating Stars. Result!)

Of course I am entirely unhappy about all this work because all I wanted to do today was sit and read Network Effect, the new Murderbot novel. Fortunately there have been meal breaks. I’m about half way through and absolutely loving it.

Apparently the government is talking about relaxing the lockdown constraints. I’m considering going to Tesco tomorrow so I can get some shopping done before the stores are full of sick people.

Today on Ujima – Contraception and Books

Today’s show began with an hour-long chat with Dr. Donna Drucker who has recently written a great little book on the history of contraception. Our conversation goes all the way from herbal rememdies to cybersex.

The other half of the show was devoted to books. First up we had Stark Holborn with Triggernometry. And then part of my Lyda Morehouse interview from Salon Futura, which is mainly about Unjust Cause.

The playlist for this week’s show was:

  • Salt ‘n’ Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex
  • Ike & Tina Turner – Sexy Ida
  • Parliament – I’ve Been Watching You
  • James Brown – Sex Machine
  • Janelle Monae – March of the Wolfmasters
  • Janelle Monae – Violet Stars Happy Hunting!!!
  • Janelle Monae – Let’s Get Screwed
  • Big Audio Dynamite – Medicine Show
  • Amazing Rhythm Aces – King of the Cowboys
  • Santana – Full Moon
  • Prince – Little Red Corvette

For the next few weeks you can catch the whole show via the Ujima Listen Again service.

New #LockdownReading from Lyda Morehouse


It’s Thursday, and that means it is time for another free short story from Wizard’s Tower. This one is Bright, Bright City Lights by Lyda Morehouse. It is a story set in Lyda’s home city of St. Paul, which she has particular affection for as we discussed in her interview for the new Salon Futura. It also has some resonance with the new NK Jemisin novel, The City We Became, which I reviewed here. And, given that it is a story about left-wing politics, it is very much speaking to the present day, even though it was first published in 2010 and is inspired by an event that happened in 2002.

You can find the full list of free Lockdown Reading stories here.

New Lockdown Reading – Fire in the Night


Thursday means Lockdown Reading day. Today we have a new story from Juliet McKenna. Fire in the Night takes place after the events of Southern Fire, the first book in the Aldabreshin Compass series. There are two more short stories that follow on from this one. We’ll put them both out if Lockdown lasts that long. Juliet talks about the genesis of the stories here.

I am reminded that Southern Fire came out in 2003. It featured a black lead character, and is set in a majority-black society, long before such things happened. Tor, who did the US edition, even put the hero, Daish Kheda, on the cover, which of course meant that the book sank without trace. Thankfully things are better these days.

Introducing Stories of Hope and Wonder

Over at Newcon Press, Ian Whates has put together an amazing charity anthology to raise money for the NHS. It contains 53 stories from a range of top flight British authors including Mike Carey, Peter Hamilton, Frances Hardinge, Paul Cornell, Tade Thompson, Juliet McKenna, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Stephen Baxter. It is available only as an ebook, and you can get it for the ridiculously low price of £5.99. Go ye forth and buy.

The Book of Koli

Mike Carey has a new science fiction trilogy underway, and book 1 was officially published yesterday. Normally I would be jumping at this and reviewing it immediately, but I can’t because, as Mike mentioned in the launch event last night, I had a small hand in creating the book. There are a couple of trans people in it, and I helped out with a few details of their characterisation and story arcs. Advising other people about trans issues is, after all, something that I do professionally.

Of course there’s a lot more to the book than just those characters. Indeed, of all the reviews I have seen so far, only one has even mentioned their existence. And in my humble opinion the rest of the book is amazing. Koli’s voice does take a little getting used to, but once you are into the rhythm of it reading becomes very easy. The whole thing about murderous trees is fabulous. The weird place names will probably mean more if you are British and have a vague idea of what the original names were, but if you are not they will just sound like fantasy names.

For those of you who love maps, Mythen Rood is the small town of Mytholmroyd in the Calder Valley, not far from Hebden Bridge. English places names are remarkably bizarre at times.

Of course with us all stuck in isolation and animals starting to wander the streets of our cities, the whole setting of the books takes on a new significance. The books are set a couple of hundred years into the future, so sufficiently far for the current crisis to be merely a small part of what has happened to the world. Nevertheless, the books are set in a world that nature has reclaimed. Asked for a playlist for the book last night, Mike mentioned my favourite Talking Heads song. I think you will see why.

Coronavirus – Day #34

I needed to cook again today. I made a batch of curry that will do me for a few days, though some of it will go on hold over the weekend due to there being venison steaks in the fridge.

I’ve also put out a new free short story (see below), started on the next radio show, and done some Women’s Equality Party work. I’m mostly keeping up with the email, but I’m sure there’s stuff I need to answer.

This evening I attended Mike Carey’s virtual book launch for The Book of Koli, which is an absolutely wonderful read. I’m afraid I can’t review it, for reasons that Mike explained in the interview, but all of the reviews I have seen thus far have been very positive.

If there is an outside world, I’ve been too busy to notice.

New Lockdown Reading – Answering Back


It is Thursday, so that means another release in the Wizard’s Tower Lockdown Reading series. This one is by Roz Clarke, whom most of you will know as one of the editors of the Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion series, but she’s a great writer as well Answering Back is quite short, but I found it very amusing. Here’s what I wrote about it for the bookstore:

A short story by Roz Clarke in which the greatest mind of his generation (possibly of all time) discovers that in the real world people don’t always follow the scripts you have written for them. Feminist and funny (unless you are the sort of person who thinks that Victor von Doom is a great role model).

It also has what has become one of my favourite lines in fiction, but I can’t tell you what it is as there’s enough spoilery stuff for a very short story already.

You can download a free copy of the story via the Wizard’s Tower bookstore. And please consider buying a copy of Colinthology, which Roz helped edit and has a story in, because all proceeds from the sale of that one go to support hospitals in Bristol.

You can find the full list of Lockdown Reading titles here.